A major part of our current problem is that we’re now not brave enough or ready to accept risk for reward. WGS always said you have to be brave on the ball to win matches and that’s true. When we were doing well in the Autumn we weren’t afraid to take risks, which often led to chances, because there was confidence that if we lost the ball, we’d work hard to win it back and could defend.
Now we’re afraid of the consequences of losing the ball and we’ve become too risk-averse and therefore predictable and less dangerous. The loss of confidence can be put down to the injuries and constantly changing team. The settled team knew each other, trusted each other and their reactions and plays were almost automatic.
With Ings out, and then Redmond, followed by Armstrong, Djenepo and Walcott at different times, the elements of the press lost their automation. Losing Vestergaard broke a solid understanding at CB and made us more vulnerable and at the same time, with Romeu and/or Diallo out the ability to win the ball back and stem opposition attacks in midfield vanished. It became too easy for teams to find attacking passes. Then finally losing KWP we’ve an attacking threat, an out ball and pace in defensive covering have all been missed.
Since Danny’s been back you can see his frustration: things just aren’t working and he’s not getting the service which arises from quick, incisive and imaginative passes.
It’ll be contentious, but although Salisu will eventually be a good player for us, at the moment he is nowhere near justifying breaking up the Bednarek/Vest partnership. I thought we improved significantly when he went off. You can’t underestimate the importance of understanding in a settled defence.
And I feel sorry for McCarthy. Playing behind a constantly changing defence has affected his confidence but for me he should still be first choice. FF doesn’t relieve pressure as he’s permanently rooted to his line. His kicking was ok last night and he made a couple of timely dashes out to collect through balls, but I don’t think he covered himself in glory for the goal: he was easily dumped on the floor and rounded from an acute angle.
So, we obviously need KWP and Diallo back (although Armstrong was brilliant in that position). Then, for me, preferably McCarthy back but definitely no Salisu. His time will come, but not now
I think Ings and Tella could work together. Redmond is a liability at the moment so my AMs are Armstrong plus Djenepo/Minamino.
So, guessing Diallo might make Saturday but not KWP, my team is
Mccarthy (Forster if you insist, but it’ll wreck my nerves)
Djenepo/Ramsey Bednarek Vestergaard Bertrand
If Diallo is out, play Ramsey, Armstrong to DM and Djenepo to AM. If Djenepo is out too (given our luck, he will be) Tella to AM and Adams with Ings. Redmond as a last resort only.
COYR. Stop this rot